22 May 2024, 13:35
By Furniture News Sept 30, 2015

New Consumer Rights Act to impact retailers

October will see the introduction of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a major reform of consumer law that brings together eight pieces of legislation in an easier-to-understand format that promises enhanced consumer rights, including the implementation of a 30-day time period in which to return faulty goods and receive a full refund, plus replacement rights for faulty digital content.

“This is the biggest shake up of consumer law for a generation, bringing legislation in line with the fact many people now buy online,” comments former business secretary Vince Cable.

Consumers now have a clear right to demand that sub-standard services are redone, or, failing that, a price reduction is given. They are entitled to some money back after one failed repair of faulty goods – or one faulty replacement – even if more than 30 days have passed, rather than having to endure repeated attempts to carry out a repair. They are also able to challenge terms and conditions which are not ‘fair’, or are hidden in small print.

Measures have also been included to reduce the burdens of understanding and applying consumer law. These include: a new requirement for enforcers such as Trading Standards Officers to give 48 hours’ notice to businesses when carrying out routine inspections; and faster and lower cost remedies for businesses which have been disadvantaged from breaches in competition law.

For furniture retailers, the act means that delivery should take place within 30 days, unless agreed otherwise. Upon receipt of the product, the customer has 30 days in which to reject faulty goods or installations and receive a refund, unless a repair is agreed within this time (although should the repair not resolve matters, the consumer’s right to reject is not lost). Following the expiration of the short-term right to reject, if a fault arises the retailer may carry out either one repair or replacement before the right to a full or partial refund or price reduction would arise. After six months, refunds can be reduced to account for the time that has passed.

These time periods are adjusted accordingly to take waiting times into account. Refunds must be paid within 14 days of the retailer agreeing the refund.

Kevin Grix, chief ombudsman and chief executive of The Furniture Ombudsman, comments: “The Furniture Ombudsman is offering its advice, training and support services to the industry, which are designed to help businesses understand the law and strike the right balance between offering good customer service and discharging their legal obligations.”

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